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Coastal Resources for Community Officials

This page provides information for community officials regarding ongoing coastal analysis and mapping activities in communities at risk to coastal flood hazards and resources to reduce their risk and losses.

Photo of a FEMA Staff member at press conference

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The NFIP regulations and enabling legislation require active involvement and cooperation from local communities that choose to join the program. In order to help communities become more disaster resilient, an agreement is made between local communities and FEMA wherein a community adopts and enforces local floodplain management standards that meet or exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. In exchange, flood insurance is available to the community.

As a community official, it is your responsibility to ensure that your community is well educated on the coastal flood risk studies, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and that this information is used as a framework to guide development, reducing future flood risk and losses. 

What You Should Know and Why

  • Risk MAP (Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning) is an effort by FEMA to deliver quality data that increases public awareness and leads to action that reduces risk to life and property. Updated digital FIRMs in coastal areas are a product of Risk MAP. By providing updated coastal flood hazard information, FEMA aims to help you increase the understanding of local flood risk, encourage mitigation efforts and improve your community’s resilience to flood losses (life, property and business) in coastal areas. 

  • To find out the progress of your community’s coastal mapping project, please visit the Risk MAP Progress Website through the Risk MAP webpage. This website offers an interactive map that allows users to zoom in, locate their community and click to learn about the project status (i.e. time frame for their preliminary and effective maps). For additional information on the flood risk studies in your area, refer to the Coastal Flood Risk Study Process page.

  • Flooding occurs not only in high-risk areas known as “Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs)” or  "the floodplain" but also in low- to moderate-risk areas. Approximately 20 to 25 percent of all flood insurance claims nationwide come from areas that are outside of the floodplain.

  • All NFIP participating communities must adopt and enforce minimum standards for managing construction and development in mapped SFHAs. When communities implement floodplain management to standards above the NFIP minimums, they can get credit for this effort by applying to the Community Rating System (CRS). The higher the community's CRS rating, the deeper the discount community residents receive on flood insurance premiums. The CRS recognizes communities for their additional efforts to (1) reduce flood damage to insurable property; (2) strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP; and (3) encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management. For information about the CRS, visit the FEMA CRS Webpage.

  • Note that post-disaster recovery and mitigation planning is credited under the Community Rating System as well.

  • Knowing and understanding your community’s flood risk is the first step toward making your community more disaster resilient. As a community official, you will be able to make more informed decisions on where to build and how structures should be constructed; decreasing the chance of flood losses (life, property, and business) in your jurisdiction.

  • Outreach efforts should be initiated at the onset and continued throughout the coastal flood risk study. As a local official, you should strive to identify and engage stakeholders within your study area through the local media and via electronic announcements, mailings, public meetings and other avenues. Fostering early discussion about the study will result in a better, more accurate outcome and increased awareness of and support for mitigation actions to reduce your coastal flood risk and improve your community’s resilience.

  • It is your responsibility to work with FEMA to effectively communicate flood risk and create mitigation plans in your community. Contact your local FEMA regional representative to determine the status of your coastal flood map update.


Steps You Can Take


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Last Updated: 
06/12/2015 - 09:16